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Maria Conti has a full and busy life in 60's Manchester. Having lost her mother at a young age, she has a close and loving relationship with her father, Leo who owns an Italian restaurant, Leonardo's. Finding first romance with Paul Spencer seems like the icing on the cake. Secretly, however, she worries over Leo's drinking and gambling binges. Then he buys a racehorse she Maria Conti has a full and busy life in 60's Manchester. Having lost her mother at a young age, she has a close and loving relationship with her father, Leo who owns an Italian restaurant, Leonardo's. Finding first romance with Paul Spencer seems like the icing on the cake. Secretly, however, she worries over Leo's drinking and gambling binges. Then he buys a racehorse she know he cannot afford. Maria has no one to advise her as Leo's family are in Italy and her mother's family in Ireland rejected her when she married a foreigner. Having carefully guarded her father from female attention, Maria's attitude alters when the elegant Diana Freeman comes into their lives. She hopes that Diana's presence may distance Leo from his addictions. Then Leo is tragically killed. In the dark days that follow it emerges that he has left them deeply in debt and their home and her beloved Leonard's are in jeopardy. Maria has no choice but t o turn to her estranged Irish Family. Still reeling from her loss, she fins she has yet another challenge to face, In Ireland, as she uncovers a bitter legacy of secrets and lies, she comes to realise that their mother was not the person she's been led to believe she was.


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Maria Conti has a full and busy life in 60's Manchester. Having lost her mother at a young age, she has a close and loving relationship with her father, Leo who owns an Italian restaurant, Leonardo's. Finding first romance with Paul Spencer seems like the icing on the cake. Secretly, however, she worries over Leo's drinking and gambling binges. Then he buys a racehorse she Maria Conti has a full and busy life in 60's Manchester. Having lost her mother at a young age, she has a close and loving relationship with her father, Leo who owns an Italian restaurant, Leonardo's. Finding first romance with Paul Spencer seems like the icing on the cake. Secretly, however, she worries over Leo's drinking and gambling binges. Then he buys a racehorse she know he cannot afford. Maria has no one to advise her as Leo's family are in Italy and her mother's family in Ireland rejected her when she married a foreigner. Having carefully guarded her father from female attention, Maria's attitude alters when the elegant Diana Freeman comes into their lives. She hopes that Diana's presence may distance Leo from his addictions. Then Leo is tragically killed. In the dark days that follow it emerges that he has left them deeply in debt and their home and her beloved Leonard's are in jeopardy. Maria has no choice but t o turn to her estranged Irish Family. Still reeling from her loss, she fins she has yet another challenge to face, In Ireland, as she uncovers a bitter legacy of secrets and lies, she comes to realise that their mother was not the person she's been led to believe she was.

30 review for Music from Home

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Peterson

    Simplistic writing with underdeveloped, lifeless characters. Very wordy with unnecessary descriptions and conversations that added nothing to the story. (Made me think perhaps it was unedited.) I kept reading only to know where exactly this story was going after so many sub-plots. Sadly, it went nowhere.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jane Houle

    5 th grade level writing. Boring and predictable. No real character development. No romance or intrigue

  3. 4 out of 5

    Merewyn

    Meh. I am not sure if it was because the book description told you everything that was going to happen (seriously, 70 percent of the book was covered in the description) OR if it was just that the characters weren’t very memorable or developed but I struggled to keep going with this one. I thought at least the last 30% would kick it up a notch since that was the one part that had a bit of mystery but nope, it was just as bland as the rest. I finished the book wondering why I had bothered...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joyce McKay

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Music from home by Geraldine O'Neill gave me feelings of nostalgia because Maria lived her teenage years during my time. I enjoyed the music mentioned and the descriptions of the clothing. It brought back memories. Maria's experiences in dating and those of her friend Stella reminded me so much of my own experiences. I tended to be more reticent like Maria was and was uncomfortable with some of the easy morals that came about in the sixties. I loved the way the story was going for Maria and for D Music from home by Geraldine O'Neill gave me feelings of nostalgia because Maria lived her teenage years during my time. I enjoyed the music mentioned and the descriptions of the clothing. It brought back memories. Maria's experiences in dating and those of her friend Stella reminded me so much of my own experiences. I tended to be more reticent like Maria was and was uncomfortable with some of the easy morals that came about in the sixties. I loved the way the story was going for Maria and for Diana Freeman until it wasn't. Diana's situation had been fleshed out early on in the book. Leo was her long awaited love. It seemed unfair for Leo to be taken away when he was in the way that he was. One question I had was, why didn't they ever call the police when they had an ongoing violent situation. It seemed like stupidity to me. Stella was a textbook case of anorexia. She had a controlling mother who would not let up on her. Stella was sabotaging herself. It was the only way she felt she had any control in her life. Stella pretty much gets dropped after Leo's death. The whole story changes after Leo's death. It's like it became a different book. Paul pretty much disappears from the story as does everyone else back in England. There's one chapter where it goes back to Diana and Franco discussing Maria's financial situation. The family home is up for sale but things are looking good for the restaurant. At this point Diana discovers that Leo had intended to propose to her at Christmas time. Somehow, no one thought to share that with her until she indicates that she feels like she's intruding by taking part in decisions for Maria's future. It would have completely changed Maria's life decision to go to Ireland until she reached the age of 18, but then she would not have discovered her mother's terrible secret. I find it unsatisfactory that I don't see a book to follow this one. Too many loose ends. Maria does find the big secret about her mother but the story doesn't seem to call it what it is. Instead Anna is portrayed as a fallen woman. Maria's mother Anna was basically a victim of sexual exploitation by a trusted piano teacher. Anna was a child when he started grooming her and took advantage of her. His family blames Anna for breaking up their family when the father should have been imprisoned for what he did. We find in the end that Stella's boyfriend, Tony, has been paid off by her parents and goes off to invest in a stable in another area. We're led to believe he held her in small regard, but I can't help but wonder if he isn't trying to gain a position where her mother will no longer feel he wasn't worthy of Stella. Maria wonders if her relationship with Paul is as deep as she thought it was. She even jumps from working at becoming a travel agent to deciding to study to be a businesswoman to run Leonardo's. Her Uncle Jude suddenly is able to date Cathy, a young nurse his mother disapproved of because her sister had gotten pregnant out of wedlock. Ambrose is expected to only live a year or less but there's a slight mention of possible medical discoveries that could change that. I thought perhaps there was a sequel because there were so many loose ends. Instead I find several books mentioned with excerpts. I read some of the first, hoping to find a connection to Maria and all those around her. There was no connection. I was disappointed and gave up. My only guess is that O'Neill wants us to give our own endings to the story

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bookfan36

    Brief synopsis from the book cover: Maria Conti has a full and busy life in 60's Manchester. Having lost her mother at a young age, she has a close and loving relationship with her father, Leo who owns an Italian restaurant, Leonardo's. Finding first romance with Paul Spencer seems like the icing on the cake. Secretly, however, she worries over Leo's drinking and gambling binges. Then he buys a racehorse she know he cannot afford. Maria has no one to advise her as Leo's family are in Italy and he Brief synopsis from the book cover: Maria Conti has a full and busy life in 60's Manchester. Having lost her mother at a young age, she has a close and loving relationship with her father, Leo who owns an Italian restaurant, Leonardo's. Finding first romance with Paul Spencer seems like the icing on the cake. Secretly, however, she worries over Leo's drinking and gambling binges. Then he buys a racehorse she know he cannot afford. Maria has no one to advise her as Leo's family are in Italy and her mother's family in Ireland rejected her when she married a foreigner. Having carefully guarded her father from female attention, Maria's attitude alters when the elegant Diana Freeman comes into their lives. She hopes that Diana's presence may distance Leo from his addictions. Then Leo is tragically killed. In the dark days that follow it emerges that he has left them deeply in debt and their home and her beloved Leonard's are in jeopardy. Maria has no choice but t o turn to her estranged Irish Family. Still reeling from her loss, she fins she has yet another challenge to face, In Ireland, as she uncovers a bitter legacy of secrets and lies, she comes to realise that their mother was not the person she's been led to believe she was. My rating: Plot: 3 out of 5 stars Writing: 2.5 out of 5 stars Character development: 3.0 out of 5 stars Overall: 3 out of 5 stars Recommended for readers of: Women’s fiction General fiction Review: This is a great story for those rainy weekends when you are stuck at home and want something to read that is not too complicated. This is such a book. The characters are decent normal people. They are depicted in enough detail so they feel realistic. The plot is simple but interesting enough to keep you captivated until the end. Overall this is a nice book with interesting characters who are portrayed realistically. Great if you are looking for uncomplicated story that’s easy to follow and can be picked up at any time if you need to leave it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Geraldine

    Yes, shallow, emotional chewing gum, easy read and predictable but comfortable read, sort book pick up and look out the window it's raining and miserable and reading this cheers you up. Happy ending, stereotypical characters, a bit off comment on plight of illegitimacy in rural Ireland and small village mentality. Nun seems bit cardboard and characters are certainly not deep and introspective lol but does what it says on tin, liked the few Irish sayings 'old dog for a hard road' didn't see Stell Yes, shallow, emotional chewing gum, easy read and predictable but comfortable read, sort book pick up and look out the window it's raining and miserable and reading this cheers you up. Happy ending, stereotypical characters, a bit off comment on plight of illegitimacy in rural Ireland and small village mentality. Nun seems bit cardboard and characters are certainly not deep and introspective lol but does what it says on tin, liked the few Irish sayings 'old dog for a hard road' didn't see Stella's role at all necessary, best if she had sat this one out lol Its OK but then I read at no cost so can't complain really. Think Author will improve as she writes more and I hope she does and does well.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    English heroine is introduced to family in Ireland Maria is a sixteen year old girl living in Manchester, England, with her widower, restaurateur father. Her fairly typical life is filled with school exams, ballet and horseback riding lessons and going out with a new boyfriend. Unfortunate circumstances lead to her having to relocate to her deceased mother's home in Ireland to live among relatives she has never met before. In Ireland, she learns the true story of her mother's past. The story is r English heroine is introduced to family in Ireland Maria is a sixteen year old girl living in Manchester, England, with her widower, restaurateur father. Her fairly typical life is filled with school exams, ballet and horseback riding lessons and going out with a new boyfriend. Unfortunate circumstances lead to her having to relocate to her deceased mother's home in Ireland to live among relatives she has never met before. In Ireland, she learns the true story of her mother's past. The story is rather ho-hum, but gets more interesting when Maria travels to Ireland. Not a bad book, but not a real page-turner.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    This is another one of those books that is perfectly nice, eminently readable and totally forgettable. It tells the tale of Maria, the daughter of an Italian father and an Irish mother in Manchester, England in what I think is the early 1960’s. Mom is dead. Dad owns a restaurant and had (has?) a gambling problem. Maria has a best friend, Stella, who is flighty and annoying. The first 3/4’s of the novel just drags, on and on and on. It could have benefitted from a decent editor. Once the big even This is another one of those books that is perfectly nice, eminently readable and totally forgettable. It tells the tale of Maria, the daughter of an Italian father and an Irish mother in Manchester, England in what I think is the early 1960’s. Mom is dead. Dad owns a restaurant and had (has?) a gambling problem. Maria has a best friend, Stella, who is flighty and annoying. The first 3/4’s of the novel just drags, on and on and on. It could have benefitted from a decent editor. Once the big event in the novel takes place, it gets much better, but getting there was a leap of faith. As soon as I start the next book, this one will quickly fade from my memory.

  9. 5 out of 5

    carolebeckett

    Music frmhome I enjoyed this story and felt myself becoming involved with the characters. The same as it happens with Maeve Benchy’s stories. The only problem with Ms O’Neill’s story is it just chopped off at the end of the book. I felt like there should be another chapter or two to “finish”it. Nothing is said about a follow up book. Unfortunately to me “what happens next?” Is not a good ending for a story with such feeling among its characters. Be prepared for it to leave you wondering.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    I enjoyed this story about Maria and her father, at first I felt it should be a story for a teenager, I am glad I kept reading and getting involved in the story line. It is a good family story and I was surprised on why Anna left Ireland and that her family in England didn't know anything about it. I enjoyed the ending and how Maria found her mother's family gave them a chance and learned to love them.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Guilfoyle

    Enjoyed this book For me the book started out slow, but did pick up as more characters were brought in. I enjoyed the interaction between them and how their lives intersected. Maria, the main character in the story has many difficult times in her life, but continues to grow and mature, well. Life has thrown many curves for her, but she has also found that she has many people who care for her.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Loidolt

    I really enjoyed this book and wanted it to continue Well written, very detailed and captured me into the different environments to develop the lives of each character. It was a beautiful portrait of a lovely young woman in her teens coping with life and the trials facing her. It is a tough time for her however her character and inner strength prevail. I wish it had continued - I wasn’t ready for it to end.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeri Bitney

    This book had some interesting characters, but it could have done with a good editor to look it over. There were too many extraneous words, descriptions when not needed (did I need to know what the main character wore to the store, church, or plane?), and abrupt changes in locations and setting without a bridge. It almost rated three stars, but when I find myself skimming sections of a book to get to the necessary words and dialog, I just couldn't do it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    linda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A book set in Manchester a place I know well. The main character is a teenager who lost her mother several years ago. Who spends a lot of time on her own as her father owns and runs a successful restaurant. The story revolves around the two of them until Leo, the father dies of a head injury. After te funeral the daughter moves to Ireland to be with her mother's family. Where she founds out things about her mothers past.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Loretta

    The title does not seem to fit the story; every time I looked at the title I couldn't remember what the story was about. The story takes place in England in the 60's so the setting was interesting. The main character is a high school girl and she is being raised by her widowed Italian father. The author is compared to Maeve Binchy and her stories; I would agree.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I must say that these characters kept me involved in the story. Having come from Irish-Italian roots, I linked to the main character. A good philosophy for one so young to embrace and understand: Do not spoil today with the past. There is no point in worrying about the future. For today, live in the present and be grateful for your daily blessings,

  17. 4 out of 5

    Liesbeth

    Although some people might like the incredibly slow pace of this book, it wasn’t for me. Long, drawn out descriptions for no reason. A plot which wasn’t really a plot. It could have been condensed into a quarter of the book and still I might have struggled. The only thing I can say for it is that’s the writing style is good. Apart from that I wish I hadn’t bothered reading the whole thing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Julie Doherty

    I found the beginning of the book a little slow to grab my attention but as the story unfolds I could not wait to turn the pages. I would have liked the book to have continued but I did enjoy. The interaction of the family members and how people who were randomly set into the story turned into such good and helpful people.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Asten

    My Teenage Nostalgia My teen years were remembered as I read Music From Home. Memories and music run through this 1960s tale of Maria's life losses and first relationship. The death of her widowed father collapses her well rounded life and sends her from close friendships in Manchester to unknown relatives in Ireland. A journey of life growth and self illumination.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Heart wrenching and sweet all at once The story line is real and it is taken from different perspectives. I found the reading slow but that had a lot to do with formatting. Paragraphs did not split across columns never giving you a sense of where you were in the chapter. However, the story line pulled you along and a hook was set of a book two was to be written.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    Chick lit - slow moving story but, touching. A 16 year old is orphaned and left to figure out all the secrets between her Italian and Irish families. Her mother's story drove wedges between families and her father's later death left her adrift. Until she comes of age she goes to Ireland to live and unravels the story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Campbell

    Pleasant Pleasant enough story. Thought it lacked substance. Ending was disappointing. I thought there was a follow-up book to further flesh out the story, but sadly that's not the case.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nina Lockett

    Good o!d fashioned storyline This was an easy to read novel, romantic and sad at the same time, the ending was a bit too sudden I think and I wasn't ready for it to end when it did but I enjoyed it and it was a very easy book to read

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    Great book I want to read more books by this author I loved this story More books please Wonderful author. Wonderful writing

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Aucutt

    Very good read I loved the twists and turns in the story. An all in all good story. The characters were well developed.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angela Raby

    I really enjoyed this book but wish it hadn’t ended when/where it did. I just found the ending rushed compared to the rest of the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Miss A

    Beautifully written, had me in full on years, encapsulated feelings of loss as well add the good memories. Definitely worth reading!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    This was a delightful book about sweet and kind people.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Mills

    Great all the way to the end A well written book! The development of the lives in the story was so well done, details and emotions played out to a beautiful ending.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Debra McCool

    Could not get into it. Do not think it was written well, from what I read of it.

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